How to Take Your Real Estate Social Media Strategy to the Next Level
By Matthew Bushery
About Inbound Marketing
Using social media for real estate marketing isn’t a new trend — many agents use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and other social outlets to reach their core audience and make lasting connections with leads and clients. However, not every agent is as savvy as they could be when it comes to real estate social media marketing.
As with any business concept, going back to basics can give you a refreshed outlook on how to approach your social media marketing efforts. Keep reading to learn (or relearn) the best practices that can elevate awareness of your business and help you get more out of your real estate social media strategy.
Website Changes to Make
No, you didn’t read that wrong: Improving your real estate social media presence starts with your website. After all, if you post links on social channels that lead to weak-looking or poorly optimized pages on your site, you won’t get visitors to stay long or even come close to converting them into leads.
Tend to pages that need upgrades, like neighborhood/area pages that describe sections of your local market, or home buyer and seller resources that could use new advice and information. Also, create new pages that offer valuable content to your visitors. These additions and updates will provide plenty of pages to which you can send your audience from your social pages and, just as importantly, make it worth their while.
Effective Tactics to Try
Each social network differs in the type of content that performs well. So, when posting, modify your updates to maximize their potential for engagement on each channel. For example, marketing automation software firm Marketo breaks down what gets the most engagement on Facebook — content that may not work well on other social platforms. Some of the best content and engagement tactics for each social outlet worth trying include:
- Facebook: Boost your Facebook posts to get more exposure for them (just be sure to reach the right people by entering your targeting preferences).
- Twitter: Conduct a Twitter chat with your followers by posing questions or offering your own insights (e.g. things you want home buyers and sellers to know).
- Pinterest: Pin videos featured on your YouTube channel to get more people to view your how-to clips, interviews, and listing tours.
- Google+: Conduct live Hangouts for leads and followers who want to ask questions and/or learn about a particular real estate topic.
- Instagram: Put on your graphic designer hat and develop images that promote open houses.
Regardless of how many of these post types you publish, measurement remains a requirement — something more and more professionals with social media marketing strategies are learning.
Outreach Methods to Attempt
Engaging with your leads should be a routine practice on social media. What many agents don’t do, however, is perform the same outreach to like-minded professionals directly or indirectly related to real estate — people who could help with job opportunities and new business down the line.
Look at who you’re connected with on LinkedIn and figure out what second connections exist (those who you’re not yet connected with but who are connected to people you know). These people can come in handy when you’re looking for trustworthy pros to develop working relationships with or if you decide to change brokerages.
You shouldn’t be overly aggressive with your real estate social media messages to these folks. Instead, just friend them on Facebook and/or Twitter and tell them you think it’d be great to become connections. Then, whenever you could use their assistance (for example, a past client needs a contractor recommendation), you’ll have go-to resources who can help.
Also, try to find influencers you can leverage for your real estate content marketing efforts. Those with hefty-sized social media followings can make promoting your blog posts, ebooks, reports, and other content much simpler and more effective. Locally these influencers could be bloggers who share information on hot spots around town or media members who work for area TV or radio stations, newspapers, or magazines.
Optimization Tips to Use
Your website needs constant love (a.k.a. maintenance) to ensure it operates the way it should — generating the traffic and leads you desire. The same goes for your social media accounts. No facet of your profiles and posts should go overlooked, as nearly every element of your presence can be optimized. The core areas to focus on for optimization include:
- Header and profile images: It’s not enough to publish your headshot and a randomly selected listing photo atop your social media business pages. You need to ensure they include calls to action (like text overlay with your phone number, website URL, and email address), have an appealing design, and are relevant to your business (a shot of your office or most recently sold home for sale could work).
- Posting frequency: Posting midday on Facebook may not also work well for Google+ or Instagram, so you should develop a real estate social media marketing schedule for each channel that aligns with the days and times during which you get the most traction.
- Add company information: Prospective clients need to know how to get in touch with you, so include important company information (and links to your site’s about page) in your profiles. This should be the first task you take care of when starting your social media accounts, but since your business details might change over time, check on your profiles every once in a while to make sure they’re up-to-date.
- Block spam accounts: A considerable portion of the social media world is made up of spam accounts. On Twitter, for instance, roughly 10% of all accounts are spam. Just being associated with these “users” — like allowing them to retweet, favorite, and share your content — can harm your online reputation, so weed out any of these fake accounts by reporting and blocking them. Social networks who identify these types of profiles are pretty good about deleting and banning them.
- Always include links: Certain social networks, like Instagram, don’t offer linking capabilities across the board, but wherever possible, include a link to your website and content. You could get 100 shares for a single post on Facebook that offers a few home buying tips, but without a link that leads to your site, you’re missing out on an opportunity for generating and nurturing leads.
Besides optimizing your real estate social media profiles, there are ways to alter your website and email marketing to augment your social profiles. For instance, in your email signature, include social sharing buttons that lead to every network on which you have a presence. If you want to take it a step further, link to a specific piece of content there as well.
Automation Software to Employ
Nearly nine in 10 marketers will use or plan to use marketing automation software this year. Using these tools can be a lifesaver, especially if you’re like most agents and lack the time to manually execute all of your online real estate marketing activities. There are plenty of automation options to choose from, and there are certain applications that stand above the rest, like Hootsuite and Buffer. But there are also lots of newcomers to the space that offer different features that may prove useful, like:
- Edgar: Develop a library of tweets, status updates, and other social posts, schedule them for specific times and days of the week, and this service will automatically share your content. Posts can be added, deleted, and modified with ease, and you can track which of them perform best with the social statistics feature.
- Sprout Social: Aside from scheduling your posts in advance, this service allows you to get email notifications when people engage with posts, monitor brand keywords, view real-time responses from your entire social following, and receive reports on followers and social media trends.
- SocialOomph: This software is very straightforward and easy for even novice social media marketers to grasp. The core functions offered include publication automation, keyword-tracking, auto-follow and -unfollow capabilities, and a feature that allows users to gauge who’s worth following and engaging with.
A/B Split Tests to Perform
Marketers perform A/B tests daily, like publishing two different pages that feature different copy and images and see which performs best. It’s useful to do this to ensure your website is in tip-top shape … but it’s also essential to perform these tests on more than just your site.
Social media for real estate agents can be a powerful tool, but it requires testing to see what yields the most fans, follows, and favorites. For starters, you could test a few different links in Facebook’s Call to Action feature on your Business Page, compare and contrast the use of hashtags in your tweets, and analyze two different scheduling frequencies.
The aforementioned automation software and other resources — notably, Google Analytics — can then provide you with data on which variables led to more impressions, clicks, retweets, comments, likes, and other social media metric improvements. This post from Unbounce can give you some ideas for ideal split tests to implement with your social campaigns. Just remember to focus on one or two variables at a time so you can develop clear conclusions.
Listening Tools to Leverage
Staying on top of your online brand mentions used to be a pain. In the old days (a few years ago, essentially), professionals who wanted to track mentions of them and their companies had to set up Google Alerts and search for their names on social media. Today, though, there are many great social media listening tools to choose from that can give you insights into the positive and negative remarks made about your brand across the internet.
The aforementioned automation tools offer help in terms of keeping tabs on brand remarks, but using software that’s solely intended to find and organize your mentions can save you from having to manually grab data and determine what it all means. Some of the top options on the market include:
- Mention: Create alerts for person or brand mentions, and add your notification preferences so you only get the most appropriate results in return.
- Oktopost: In addition to monitoring commentary about you and your brand, this nifty resource tracks keywords and competitors’ online activity.
- Social Mention: A simple brand entry in this unique search tool brings up all mentions on search, on blogs and forums, and in videos and images.
- ManageFlitter: Finding relevant people to connect with — particularly influencers — is a cinch with this platform, which also helps users analyze their Twitter presence.
These platforms offer reporting to understand where people are discussing your brand, and allow you to reply via social media and email should the need arise (like if a former client criticizes your company or compliments you on a piece of content).
Underperforming Activities to Stop
No one wants to admit failure, including and especially at their job. But the good news with making mistakes with your social strategy is, more often than not, they’re easily fixable, and the adjustments you make can lead to much better results in a matter of days.
For example, if your social network advertising plan isn’t helping your lead gen after you’ve already exhausted targeting criteria and tried different ad types, it may be worth allocating your ad spend elsewhere. Even though you may not see the desired outcome with these efforts, you can always revisit them later in your marketing plan.
How do you ensure your real estate social media marketing strategy helps drive results for your business? Share some of your best practices with us below!
Published on May 7, 2015
Written by Matthew Bushery
I'm the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.